When the Redskins released kicker Clint Stitser on Tuesday, second-year pro Graham Gano officially locked up the place kicking duties for the team after a so-far perfect preseason.
Gano has hit all seven field goal attempts, with a long of 48 yards, and nailed all six of his extra point attempts.
His two competitors didn’t pose much of a threat.
Washington added veteran Shayne Graham – the third-most accurate field goal kicker in NFL history – but he struggled mightily, missing numerous attempts in practice and two tries during the preseason opener. He was cut the following day.
Washington later brought in Stitser, but he missed several field goal attempts during pregame warm-ups for Indianapolis in Week 2 of the preseason, missed more in practice and another in pre-game warm-ups against Baltimore the following week. Stitser never attempted a field goal, kickoff or extra point in either game he dressed for.
Stitser got the boot Tuesday as Washington trimmed its roster from 89 to 80 players.
“Clint missed a couple of field goals in practice,” Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said. “We never gave him an opportunity in a game, for obvious reasons, and because of Graham’s consistency.”
Gano last season missed 11 field goal attempts, but Shanahan continued to express confidence in the Florida State product. The coach liked Gano’s leg strength and believed that he would improve with time.
Gano spent the offseason refining his kicking technique, and so far, has kicked with much greater consistency.
“I feel comfortable with Gano,” Shanahan said. “He’s been very consistent all the way through. I think he feels very good about himself right now. You can see his maturity and concentration level is there. Hopefully, it carries over to the season.”
Gano said he still feels he has plenty to prove. He is eagerly looking forward to the season opener on Sept. 11.
“I worked hard all offseason. It’s nice to see it pay off. But I’m just focused on doing what I need to do to carry it over into the regular season,” said Gano, who didn’t miss a preseason game despite the fact that his wife gave birth to his first child on the eve of the Indianapolis game. “I’m blessed, I’m healthy, God has been good to me and I just can’t wait until the regular season and ready to get these preseason games overwith.”